Healthcare News & Insights

Nurse accidently throws away healthy kidney?

Fact or fiction? A perfectly healthy kidney was thrown away during a transplant procedure earlier this month.

Unfortunately, it’s fact. Although, the executives at the University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) are probably wishing with all their might that it was fiction.

Here’s what happened:

A kidney was removed from a Toledo man, who was donating it to his older sister. But somehow, the healthy organ got thrown away with the medical waste by a nurse. It took an hour to located the missing kidney, which at that point was no longer a viable transplant organ.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and vice president for biosciences and health affairs at UTMC, told the Toledo Blade that efforts were made by doctors to revive the kidney to a “usable state,” but they were unsuccessful.

One-of-a-kind mistake

While medial experts are saying this is a rare mistake, UTMC voluntarily suspended its live kidney transplant program following the incident.

Dr. James Chon, a transplant nephrologist at the University of Chicago Medicine, told the Toledo Blade that the distance a kidney travels during transplant is 10 to 15 yards and the possibility of something going wrong is very rare.

However, something did go awry and two operating room staff nurses were suspended with pay following the accident.

The one thing that did go right in this case is that the hospital owned up to the mistake and didn’t try to cover it up. While most transplant programs have strict safeguards in place to prevent anything from going wrong, something in this case went very wrong.

Hopefully other facilities will be able to learn from UTMC’s mistake so that it never happens again.

This is why it’s so important for hospitals to employ an open and honest work environment where employees don’t fear retribution if a mistake is made, but rather own up to it and learn from it.



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